Long-term care is certainly a significant concern for people over age 65. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of those over age 65 will need some type of long-term care services during their lifetime. More than 40% will require care in a nursing home for some period of time.
For a normally healthy and active person, the simple act of growing older does not really alter the likelihood that one might some day need long-term care coverage. But given the relatively high possibility that someone will eventually claim benefits under a typical long-term care policy, it may help to consider a policy as a combination of insurance and a saving plan. So it stands to reason that the less time between starting to save and drawing benefits, the greater the premium needed to ensure that enough resources are accumulated to pay those benefits. Consider that a policy which might cost less than $1,000 per year for someone taking it out at age 50 might cost twice that if the person waits until age 65, and it could triple again if the person waits until age 75. In other words, the key issue may not be your age when you initiate coverage, but your ability to finance the cost at whatever age you begin.
Of course, this is only a rough guidepost drawn from national averages. Actual policy cost depends on the total amount of coverage offered in the policy, the types of services covered, the application of deductibles, and whether or not the policy includes periodic inflation adjustments.
Also keep in mind that this applies only to people who continue to show no signs of degenerative disease or disability when they apply for coverage. People who do have significant symptoms (at any age) can be excluded from coverage or required to pay significantly higher premiums.
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